For the approximately 175 million people who suffer from arthritis worldwide, simple daily tasks can be painful and difficult. From opening a jar to standing for long periods of time, the pressure and strain on aching joints can make going about the day a trial. This pain can even make people give up the activities they love. Fortunately, there are many different assistive devices for arthritis that can help make tasks and activities less painful and easier. Here are ten of the most useful assistive devices for arthritis.
1. Button hook
No need to give up button-down shirts with this handy little gadget. A tapered end slides through the buttonhole to grab the button and pull it through. This can be especially helpful first thing in the morning when fingers are stiff and uncooperative.
If you are in a house with round doorknobs instead of lever handle doorknobs, simply getting out of your room can be a challenge. These slip-on doorknob grips are an affordable assistive device for arthritis without having to change all of the doorknobs in your house.
One of the biggest struggles of the day may be opening jars, bottles, and cans. These assistive devices vary between mounted and hand-held models that can open the most stubborn containers.
Especially for foodies, arthritis can make time in the kitchen an exercise in misery. These knives, cutting boards, and utensils feature wider or more ergonomically-designed handles for ease of use. The non-slip cutting boards make cutting and chopping safer.
Avid cooks may also want to consider purchasing a cushioned mat to stand on. Long periods of standing can exacerbate arthritis pain in the feet, knees, hips, and back. These can also be used for any activity that involves long periods of standing, such as painting.
Mobility can be extremely impacted for those with arthritis in the lower extremities. Simply standing up from a seated position can be difficult. These assistive devices are designed to help people with arthritis move easily around their house.
One of the traps of arthritis is that because movement is painful, many people move less. This decrease in movement leads to stiffer joints, which leads to more pain. By providing a simple assistive device to make moving around the house easier, movement is promoted and pain may decrease.
Many without arthritis take driving and all of the accompanying actions for granted. Opening the door, buckling a seatbelt, turning the car on: all of these can be very painful for someone suffering from arthritis. These assistive devices range from seatbelt helpers to swivels for getting in and out of the car.
Maintaining mobility in this way means that an arthritis sufferer can still go for walks, get themselves to and from physical therapy, and visit with friends.
Being outside in nature is therapeutic and soothing, elevating mood and administering a daily dose of vitamin D. Some arthritis patients are unable to tend their plants. These adaptive devices and seating options make working outside more comfortable for the avid gardener. Raised beds are another way to adapt this activity for easier access.
8. Golfing gear
If a person with arthritis has limited their tee time due to pain, these special golf grips may help. These grips are larger and have extra nubs and grippy material so that the golfer can use less strength. For arthritic hands, this can be a way to stay in the game.
While not glamorous or beautiful, braces and orthotics can provide support and compression that can help with pain in arthritic joints. Many of these braces are lightweight and easy to adjust with Velcro tabs. This makes application and removal easier and encourages their use when needed.
While some of these products are designed for those with low vision, these large format keyboards and wireless mice with cushioned pads can be very helpful for those who spend a lot of time on the computer.
There are other things to consider when looking for assistive devices for arthritis.
Does it help maintain independence? For people with arthritis, maintaining their independence is an important part of treatment. Any assistive devices that require two people to use may defeat the purpose. Look for easy-to-use devices.
Will the device itself adapt? Even when carefully managed and controlled with a comprehensive treatment plan, many types of arthritis will gradually increase in severity. Look for assistive devices for arthritis that can adapt if the pain gets worse. These devices may have one or two levels of assistance. For example, a silicon jar opener may have two sides, one with more grip than the other. While this seems a minor detail, it is worth considering.
Is the device actually necessary? Consider the type and location of arthritis before purchasing an adaptive device. If the arthritis is located primarily in the hands, it makes no sense to look for orthotics or braces for the lower legs. Think of actions that are made difficult by arthritis pain, and focus initial purchases on those.
Does the device actually work? Talking with other arthritis patients and reading review of products online before you purchase is a must. There are many assistive devices for arthritis on the market, but not all of them are effective. Take some time for research before spending any money.
Have you used a specific assistive device for arthritis? Which one did you try, and what did you think?